Friday, November 04, 2005

thinking lately about the difficulty of merging the political and art, especially poetry that speaks specifically to the du jour injustices that, in the last few years, seem to crest with such rapidity that to digest their gravity/ramifications fully seems an almost impossible task... but especially attempting this, and attempting some constructive artistic expression from this against every cliche of the activist, the over-earnestness, the self-righteousness, the position of relative comfort/leisure/education necessary to this kind of thinking and activity... some things that have come into the frame, my frame, in a seemingly haphazard way are gaining resonance. that hankering i expressed a few days back, out of a certain restlessness with art for art's sake cleverness in the light of current political climate, a hankering for something that acknowledges, even in the abstract, something being at stake... well spahr's book, which i'd been meaning to order from spd for some time now, jumped out at me yesertday at local chain bookstore that never has interesting poetry in my quick attempt to get something to read on th train, is a manifold answer to that call. the way the speaker acknowledges and incorporates her own presence into all that is beautiful, perplexing, helpless, guilty, exploitive, etc. makes the koianistansi (sp?) view all the more persuasive for the complexity and humanity of this lens.

then there are the debates the characters had in the roth book, q's play, this dowd article that circle the question of difference between the people who speak for revolutionary causes and the people they are fighting for. dowd's article has me asking who does feminism speak for today? and all leave me with the quiestion of whether it isn't problematic- patronizing even- that a bunch of well-off, well-educated young people organize struggles against a military-industrial complex they've been the beneficiaries of for some (romanticized?) notion of the working class? q's characters talk the revolutionary talk but end up going to amusement parks and opium dens instead. this piece had a very different character compared to its staging at 3030 last spring- last night in a setting it was written for, a well-appointed apartment on the upper west side --here, chicago's equivalent of. sitting on a henry miller chaise eating brie while listening to q's days o rage does lend a certain feeling of indictment to all, at least me, who were fortunate enough to be sitting there in headphones taking in this piece.

and then the underwhelming turnout and attention paid to wednesday's protests. the chicago tribune reported only 1100 people showed up in federal plaze to say no to this president and his policies of aggression. (an echo of days o rage-- what to do when you plan a revolution and no one shows up?) more disheartening is a footman for the republican party that in response to the tribune's inquiry about whether his party views this movement as a threat first laughs and then says that this group of "extremists" represent such a minority of the left that even the demoratic party won't give them the time of day.


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